In response to allegations of ableism, Beyonce will alter a phrase in her most recent album.

During the Oscars on March 27 in Los Angeles, Beyonc will perform. IMAS by Mason Poole via Getty Images remove caption
switch to caption IMAS by Mason Poole via Getty Images

On March 27 in Los Angeles, Beyonc does a performance during the Oscars.
IMAS by Mason Poole via Getty Images Beyonce will eliminate an insulting and ableist slur from the lyrics of one of the songs on Renaissance.

The word “spaz,” which disability rights groups have criticized as an ableist insult, appears on the album’s eleventh track, “Heated,” which was written by Beyonce and Drake among others.

By email, Beyonce’s spokesperson informed NPR that the phrase will be modified.
The publicist stated, “The word, not purposely used in a bad way, will be replaced.”

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This is not the first time a creative person has faced backlash for using the phrase.

Following the similar criticism in June, Lizzo modified a line in one of her songs. She apologized to the communities she hurt and wrote a statement on social media outlining her reasoning for modifying the lyrics.

Disability rights activist Hannah Diviney, who also criticized Lizzo for using the term, expressed her displeasure with Beyonce in an opinion article for The Guardian .

According to Diviney, “I believed we’d altered the music business and sparked a global dialogue about why ableist rhetoric, whether intended or not, has no place in music.”

Some people have observed the higher standard that Black women face compared to other artists while stating that it’s critical that people be held accountable for their conduct. Vilissa Thompson, a black disability activist, previously explained to NPR how white artists may not have the same emotional response as Black artists when they employ ableist rhetoric.

“Typically, grace and room for improvement are not shown to “Black people.” There is a serious double standard of conflicting responses. They don’t believe that Black people will act morally, “explained Thompson.

The term “spastic,” which is used to describe people with spastic paralysis or cerebral palsy, is where the word “spaz” originates. The phrase has come to be used disparagingly to refer to people with impairments and to “strange” or “uncool” conduct that is typically associated with bodily mobility.

According to Thompson, terms that are offensive should be unlearned because their meanings and contexts change with time.

The onus is on us to not only unlearn but also update and enhance the way that we communicate with one another, Thompson added, so that our words are used consciously and don’t unintentionally injure others.

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